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Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 136-157; doi:10.3390/su6010136
Article

Social Capital and Longitudinal Change in Sustainability Plans and Policies: U.S. Cities from 2000 to 2010

1,* , 2
, 3
, 4
 and 5
1 School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas, 1445 Jayhawk Blvd., 4060 Wescoe Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045-3177, USA 2 Division of Governmental Studies and Services, Washington State University, P.O. Box 645136, Pullman, WA 99164-5136, USA 3 Department of Urban Planning, University of Kansas, 1465 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 418, Lawrence, KS 66045-7614, USA 4 School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, 4060 Wescoe Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045-3177, USA 5 School of the Environment, Washington State University, P.O. Box 644870, Pullman, WA 99164-4870, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
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Abstract

This study examines changes from 2000 to 2010 in the adoption of sustainability plans and policies in a sample of U.S. cities. The study’s framework posits sustainability initiatives as communitarian outcomes intended to meet the needs of both current and future generations. We hypothesize, accordingly, that a community’s social capital level, in the form of the relative presence of social trust, is a primary facilitating condition for the adoption of sustainability initiatives. The analysis assesses whether trust-based social capital is similarly associated with the adoption of plans and policies at both time points (2000 and 2010), as well as whether social capital is associated with change in the adoption levels documented across the ten-year period. The paper concludes by suggesting that the effect of social capital is substantially reduced in 2010 as a consequence of institutional network dynamics featured in the theory of isomorphic change.
Keywords: sustainability; social capital; resilience; urban planning; communitarian values; best practices; isomorphism sustainability; social capital; resilience; urban planning; communitarian values; best practices; isomorphism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Pierce, J.; Lovrich, N.; Johnson, B.; Reames, T.; Budd, W. Social Capital and Longitudinal Change in Sustainability Plans and Policies: U.S. Cities from 2000 to 2010. Sustainability 2014, 6, 136-157.

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